Ribollita

Ribollita is a rustic Tuscan soup which basically means re-boiled.  It’s typically made of cannellini, bread, and any type of vegetables that were around.   Since I had some cannellini beans in the fridge from a previous meal, I used those, some stale bread which was diced roughly, leek, and zucchini.  I wanted the soup to be more hearty, so I also soaked some farro beforehand to cook in the soup. This was a simple, easy to make, one-pot dish.

ribollitaribollita with a drizzle of olive oil to finish

I’d just like to say that leek is fast becoming one of my favorite aromatics.  It’s like an onion (also good!) but more delicate and not as pungent, so it doesn’t leave you with an oniony mouth afterward.

Risotto Style Farro

Dinners in Under an Hour

This recipe came to me from a fellow shopper who saw I was buying risotto, chickpeas, and cannellini beans. It’s less of a recipe and more of a suggestion of things to combine to make an awesome one-pot dish. For my rendition of it, I used the following ingredients:

  • farro (soaked for 6-8 hours)
  • chickpeas (soaked for 6-8 hours)
  • cannellini beans (cooked previously)
  • cauliflower greens (or any type of greens you like)
  • mushrooms
  • 2 small or 1 medium carrot
  • onions
  • olive oil
  • basil
  • thyme (optional)
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • water or broth

Directions:
Dice the onion and saute it with the oil in a pot large enough to hold the soup. While that’s cooking, dice the carrot. When the onions look clear, add in the carrot and stir. Throw in a pinch of salt. Let those cook till soft. At this point, I also threw in some fresh thyme but I’m not sure if that added anything. Dice the mushrooms and put those in also.

When the mushrooms are browned and soft, drain the farro and put it in the pot. Stir for a couple of minutes to toast the farro in the oil and aromatic ingredients. Next, add in the drained chickpeas. Throw in a few teaspoons of salt, and then enough water or broth to cover plus one inch. Cover the pot and let that come to a boil. When it does, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer with the cover on. Stir every 10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and add more water if it looks like it’s getting dry.

In the meantime, make pesto out of the basil, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. I like to do it in the mortar and pestle just so I don’t have to clean the food processor and it’s the proper way to do it. There should be 2-3 tablespoons of pesto. Wash your greens and roughly chop them.

After thirty minutes, check the farro and chickpeas. If they’re soft, go on to the next step. If not, cover and check back in another 10 minutes.

When the farro and chickpeas are cooked, stir in the greens, some more salt and cover to cook. When the greens are wilted and cooked (5-10 minutes) stir in the cooked cannellini beans. If there’s still a lot of liquid in the pot, take the lid off and let it cook off. I left enough liquid so that the ‘risotto’ was still pretty creamy. When the risotto is to your preferred consistency, turn off the heat, add in the pesto and stir. Salt and pepper to taste.

As a final step, you can also stir in freshly grated cheese, but I found that this step was unnecessary since the ‘risotto’ was plenty creamy.

Hearty Wintry Stew

Will stayed home sick today from work, so I cooked him a hearty winter soup packed full of vitamins when I got home.  It was pretty easy to make since I already had some ingredients sitting around at home.

DSC_7012

Ingredients:

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch swiss chard

1 onion

1 medium-sized carrot

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more to taste)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp aleppo pepper (optional)

half a lemon

1 can cannellini beans

2 cups broth

2 cups water

1 handful whatever leftover dried pasta is around

salt, pepper, and olive oil

Instructions:

In a soup pot, pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom and put it on medium-low heat.  Dice the onion and put in the oil. Put in a pinch of salt and pepper and stir.  Do the same for the carrots which go in right after the onions. Stir and let them soften. In the meantime, wash the greens and separate the stems of the chard. Dice the chard stems into the same size as the carrots and onions and put them in and give them a stir.

While the onions, carrots, and stems are cooking down, wash and shake dry the rest of the greens. I separated the collards from their stems and discarded the stems. Roughly chop the leaves. They can be left pretty large since they shrink while cooking.

When the onions and stems are tender, throw in the rest of the leaves and give it a stir. Then put in the cayenne pepper, aleppo pepper (if you have it) and stir to combine. Once the leaves are wilted and tender, open the can of beans and pour that in, soaking liquid and all. I guess you can rinse the beans, but I think the liquid gives the soup a nice thickness.

Pour in the broth and water and stir to combine.  Put the pasta in, cover the pot, leaving the lid ajar so it doesn’t boil over, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is done. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, add more salt and pepper to taste, ladle into bowls and then serve with some crusty bread.  I had some cheese in the fridge, so I grated that over the soup.

I initially was going to put a teaspoon or so of tomato paste to brown with the onions to give the soup more flavor, but in retrospect that’s not needed at all. The chard stems and all the other vegetables already have plenty of flavor.